Key points:

  • SEL teaches students to think and behave like healthy, mature adults
  • SEL helps students become better learners and take ownership of that learning

Every educator hopes to equip their students with the knowledge they need to thrive as a healthy adult. It’s a daunting task, especially considering there is so much to teach in such a small amount of time.

We want students to fall in love with reading while building up skills in language and grammar. We try to show them that math and science can be outlets of wonder and imagination, while also grounding them in foundations of history and social studies. And yet, out of all the knowledge at our disposal, fostering healthy social-emotional learning (SEL) may be the most important lesson that we impart to our students.   

According to CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, SEL is “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”

In other words, SEL is about teaching students how to think and behave like healthy, mature adults. This is certainly a worthy goal, but how exactly do we go about teaching this? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all method for teaching SEL, but there are resources that teachers can draw on to start applying these principles in the classroom.

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